French audio maker Focal is one of the storied manufacturers in high-end audio. The firm’s merchandise vary from loudspeakers costing upwards of $200,000, to headphones, and automotive audio audio system. Focal’s Chora 806 bookshelf audio system ($990 per pair) is a component of Focal’s newest speaker lineup that appears to merge trendy styling with extra down-to-earth costs.
To that finish, the corporate is becoming a member of its sibling model—Naim Audio—to supply a sequence of bundle offers from November 1 to December 31, 2020 (whereas provides final). Buy the Chora 806 along with a Naim Uniti Atom built-in amplifier for $3,290 and also you’ll additionally get a 4-meter pair of Naim’s NAC A5 speaker cables and an prolonged guarantee for 5 years. That’s like getting the audio system, the cables, and the prolonged guarantee free of charge.
Superb Fit and end
The Chora 806 bookshelf speaker is a component of the Chora household that features two tower speaker fashions, a encompass speaker, a middle channel, and a subwoofer. The Chora line targets two-channel purists in addition to audiophiles in search of full-blown house theater setups.
Unpacking the Chora 806, I couldn’t assist however discover their strong construct high quality and styling. The Chora’s satin end wood-grain veneer is great. The Chora 806 is available in three finishes to fit your tastes and decor: Light wooden (a maple-like end), darkish wooden (a walnut-like end), and black. My overview pattern got here in darkish wooden. The baffle’s coloration varies with every veneer.
On my dark-wood overview pattern, the speaker’s barely shiny, slate-colored entrance baffle stands out as a distinguished function. You’d higher love the baffle coloration as a result of not like most loudspeakers, the Chora 806 grille doesn’t cowl the baffle. Instead, Focal takes a distinct design aesthetic with the Chora 806.
The inverted dome tweeter sits behind an uncovered, perforated steel cowl and the front-firing port is seen always. Only the 6.5-inch driver will get a magnetic grille. The look a dialog starter that places guests on discover that you simply’re armed with a high-performance loudspeaker you’re itching to indicate off.
The round magnetic grille is finicky, nonetheless; it have to be precisely dialed in to seize the baffle. In order to get the grille to sit down correctly, I needed to rotate it like a steering wheel till I felt the magnets align.
The Chora 806 is a two-way design. Focal makes use of beryllium—arguably one of the best tweeter materials obtainable immediately—on its flagship audio system. But that factor could be very costly to work with, so Focal opted for a extra economical aluminum/magnesium tweeter within the Chora 806. The driver is a Slatefiber cone. Slatefiber is a composite of recycled, non-woven carbon fibers and thermoplastic polymer. Focal says its the primary audio model to make use of recycled carbon fibers in drivers, and that the mixture of these two supplies ends in wonderful acoustic efficiency in addition to rigidity and damping.
Use high-quality amplification
Focal advertises the Chora 806 as an 8-ohm speaker with a sensitivity of 89dB, however the Chora’s impedance can dip right down to 4.6 ohms, presenting a harder load for an amplifier. While the Chora needs to be simple to drive, it is best to mate them to a high-quality A/V receiver or a devoted energy amplifier that may deal with low-impedance hundreds.
I arrange the Chora 806 in my basement theater and set them on prime of 33-inch strong wooden stands. Focal sells a pair of stands particularly designed for the Chora 806 that promote for $290 a pair; alas, Focal didn’t present me with a overview pattern. Focal’s stands are 21 5/8-inches tall and are fabricated from MDF (medium density fiberboard). The stands are barely tilted for time alignment and to direct the tweeters towards your ears. The backside of the Chora 806 include threaded screw holes that connect to the stands’ prime plate for safety.
While I like to recommend utilizing stands, Focal consists of two units of silicone dots for tabletop placement.
Beautiful, however perplexing binding posts
The Focal Chora’s binding posts deserve some reward and a few criticism. The binding posts sit in a fantastically clean and curvaceous cavity on the again of the speaker, and so they sport rounded fins that make them extremely simple to tighten and loosen.
The binding posts are additionally perplexing. The instruction handbook reveals they’ll accommodate spades, naked wire, or banana connectors. But good luck attempting to make use of banana connectors. The binding posts include caps over the normal banana connector channel. For the life of me I couldn’t work out tips on how to pop the caps off. I finished quick for concern of damaging the connectors.
I paired the $990 Focal Chora 806 with a $3,290 Naim Uniti Atom, a high-performance, high-powered community streamer and built-in amplifier in a slick, ultra-compact footprint. It’s a Roon-ready gadget, so I served up supply materials from my Roon Nucleus server consisting of each hi-res audio information and Tidal streams.
The Chora 806 had been unusually finicky to dial into my room—way more finicky than any speaker in current reminiscence. If you don’t have the wherewithal for this activity, have your native Focal vendor arrange the audio system for you. You’ll be duly rewarded.
When correctly dialed in, the Chora 806 are magical for audio system on this value vary; they fully disappeared in my room, making a coherent wall of sound. On the Indigo Girls’ monitor “Welcome Me,” the Focals painted sonic photos of Amy Ray’s and Emily Saliers’ guitar strokes and vocals in house and time.
The Focal 806 conjured up a ridiculously massive sound stage that persistently prolonged past the audio system edges. A miniature sound stage is usually a downside of monitor audio system—that was not right here.
The Chora 806 did yeoman’s work rendering piano notes on Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” and Lana Del Rey’s “Mariners Apartment Complex.” Though if I’m allowed to nitpick, the Chora couldn’t fairly earn an ideal rating reproducing the piano’s definition and physique.
Bass response was superb for the driving force measurement and frequency response. Focal’s designers clearly centered on the standard and never amount of bass. The Chora’s frequency vary is rated at 58Hz to 28kHz, and it delivered satisfying bass traces on Lourdes “Royals,” pressurizing my listening house with well-controlled, chest-thumping bass. Bass traces on Ingrid Michaelson’s “This is War” and “Wonderful Unknown” had been taut, crisp, and effectively managed, although audibly curtailed on the lowest frequencies.
On James Blake’s “Limit to your Love” the Chora 806’s bottom-end limits on the track’s house-shaking bass traces had been abundantly clear. If you actually need deep bass with the Chora 806, pair them with a high-quality subwoofer.
The Chora 806 captivated me at instances on songs reminiscent of Sarah McLachlan’s “Love Come [piano version]” and Diana Krall’s “I Remember You,” from her album The Look of Love.
On the draw back, the Chora 806 can’t fairly transcend a barely boxy sound—that’s the sonic tradeoff with audio system and screens at this value level. While, sound stage, timbre, and dynamics are actually good, the feel of notes and the devices that play them lack the masterful refinement and finesse that you simply’ll expertise with reference audio system.
For instance, switching backwards and forwards between the Focals and my RBH Sound SVTR Signature Tower Speakers (priced at $11,000, that’s an unfair match to make certain), the RBH SVTR Signatures eradicated the feeling of bloat and smearing on vocals and devices. Natalie Merchant’s vocals on “San Andreas Fault” snapped into rapid focus in a solidly constructed sense of house and time. Put one other approach, it’s the distinction between optical and digital zoom at 5x magnification.
A taste of the excessive finish
The Focal’s Chora 806 bookshelf audio system are fantastically constructed, strong performers. The Chora’s construct and efficiency clearly conveys their high-end pedigree and are a strong option to anybody who needs to dedicate themselves to a severe audio pastime.
Without breaking the financial institution, the Chora 806 serve up a taste of what high-performance audio can ship. Just remember to pair them with high-quality electronics and amplification. If you possibly can swing the Focal-Naim promotion operating by December 31, you’ll get a superb-sounding, high-tech bundle in a spouse-friendly footprint for an outstanding value.
Theo Nicolakis – www.techhive.com